Research interests


• Evolutionary Ecology
• Parental care in burying beetles
• Behavioural Ecology
• Sexual conflict

Scientific projects

My research focusses on the evolution of biparental care in the burying beetle Nicrophorus vespilloides. I try to understand the sexual conflict within parental care and especially the reasons for male beetles to participate in brood care. By manipulating certain parameters, I aim to shift the cost-benefit ratio of the beetles to participate in parental care and thereby hope to reveal if males and females find themselves rather in a situation of conflict or cooperation.
Further, I will compare the brood care behaviour of different species of burying beetles, with a focus on the amount of active brood care males of different species are willing to contribute.


Keppner EM, Steiger S (2021) Males benefit personally from family life: evidence from a wild burying beetle population, Behavioral Ecology; arab067,

Keppner EM, Ayasse M, Steiger S (2020) Contribution of males to brood care can compensate for their food consumption from a shared resource. Ecol Evol. 2020; 10: 3535-3543.

Keppner EM, Ayasse M, Steiger S (2018) Manipulation of parental nutritional condition reveals competition among family members. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 31(6): 822-832.

Keppner EM, Prang M, Engel KC, Ayasse M, Stöckl J, Steiger S (2017): Beyond cuticular hydrocarbons – chemically mediated mate recognition in the subsocial burying beetle Nicrophorus vespilloides, Journal of Chemical Ecology

Keppner EM, Jarau S (2016): Influence of climatic factors on the flight activity and competition behavior of the stingless bee Partamona orizabaensis, Journal of Comparative Physiology A

Capodeanu-Nägler A, Keppner EM, Vogel H, Ayasse M, Eggert A-K, Sakaluk SK, Steiger S (2016) From facultative to obligatory parental care: Interspecific variation in offspring dependency on post-hatching care in burying beetles. Scientific Reports

Conference contributions

Keppner EM, Ayasse M, Steiger S (2018) Food competition among family members in the burying beetle Nicrophorus vespilloides, 17th conference of the International Society for Behavioral Ecology (ISBE), Minneapolis, USA. (Poster)


M.Sc. Eva Keppner
Institute of Evolutionary Ecology and Conservation Genomics
Ulm University
Albert-Einstein-Allee 11
D-89081 Ulm, Germany
Tel. +49 (0)731 50 22696
Fax +49 (0)731 50 22683
Office: M25 4114